The polls have closed in most the state and awaiting the results between Indiana state Treasurer Richard Mourdock longtime incumbent Dick Lugar in the primary.
Because Indiana is mostly in the Eastern Time Zone save a few counties around Evansville and Gary, projections aren’t expected to come in until another hour. Several Tea Party activists and groups that backed Mourdock are gathering in anticipation of the upset.
Anticipating a Mourdock victory—along with the entire political establishment—the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee issued a statement comparing Mourdock to other failed Tea Party Senate candidates, such as Sharon Angle of Nevada and Ken Buck of Colorado, who lost their bids two years ago.
The release highlights several issues, including the state treasurer’s stances on Social Security, civil rights and his lawsuit against the Chrysler bailout.
“Richard Mourdock is this cycle’s Ken Buck—a Tea Party candidate who is too far out of the mainstream for independent voters,” the release says.
Two precincts are reporting and show Mourdock with an early lead. The challenger is up 54 percent to Lugar’s 44 percent. But there’s still another 5320 more to go.
UPDATE III: 6:35pm.:
If Mourdock wins—still early with 39 precincts reporting and he’s up by 12 percentage points—what will Democratic Congressman Joe Donnelly’s strategy be? Polls show him either tied or ahead of the Tea Party candidate out of the gate.
According to national observers, the congressman will bring up the Chrysler lawsuit.
From She The People:
So how will he run against Mourdock? Here’s one way: The RV industry that’s a major employer in his Northern Indiana district would have lost its suppliers and been put out of business, he says, if Mourdock’s suit challenging the Chrysler bailout had been successful.
“Mourdock hired the attorneys who would have forced liquidation and led to a Depression in our state. This core industry would have gone away.’’
He also parts company with the tea party’s candidate on the role of government, which he feels should be as small as possible while still enforcing regulations of the sort that would have prevented the financial meltdown in the first place. “It’s a lot like being an umpire,’’ he says. ”You hope to be as little part of the conversation as possible.’’
But Donnelly also has to show he can raise serious money.
UPDATE IV: 6:50pm: With 139 of 5330 precincts reporting the Mourdock margin is increasing, now leading by 16 percentage points. A look at a voting map shows Lugar getting torched in southern Indiana precincts. In Pike County, for instance, he’s down 65-to-35 points. Ouch!
UPDATE IV: 7:00pm: With 5 percent of precincts reporting Mourdock has a huge lead with 61 percent to Lugar’s 39 percent. However, we are still waiting on Lugar favored counties to report.
UPDATE V: 7:14pm: The 22 point margin is holding for Mourdock with 12 percent of precincts reporting. What’s worse for Lugar is that Marion County (Indianapolis) shows the Tea Party challenger up by one point. It isn’t expected that will hold, but the longtime Senator is the former mayor of Indianapolis and needed a big margin of victory in the area.
UPDATE VI: 7:20pm: NBC News has called the election for Mourdock.
UPDATE VII: 7:28: The Associated Press still hasn’t called the race, but Indiana Democratic Party Chairman Dan Parker has released a statement signaling the fall campaign has begun.
Parker thanked Lugar for his 36 years of services and previewed the November election against Mourdock.
From the Indiana Democratic Party:
“Like all Hoosiers, we owe Senator Lugar a debt of gratitude for his long and storied career. From his service as a Naval Officer to the United States Senate, Senator Lugar has spent over half a century doing difficult work on behalf of Hoosiers.
“His successor will come into office facing a still-recovering economy and thousands of Hoosier families struggling to pay the bills. The man that won tonight’s Republican primary, Richard Mourdock, is a TEA Party extremist who is out of touch with Hoosiers. After telling the Indianapolis Star that he ‘didn’t take a pledge to support every Hoosier job’ while challenging the rescue of Chrysler, Mourdock called his attempt to kill more than 1.1 million jobs his ‘Rosa Parks moment.’”
“Richard Mourdock thinks Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional, wants to cut $11 billion from funding for veterans’ care and $5 billion from Indiana students and classrooms. Hoosiers deserve real leadership that will reach across the aisle in Richard Lugar’s successor, not Richard Mourdock’s TEA Party extremism.”